May 16, 2013

John McWhorter on Richwine

Start with this: Race is real. There are those who insist it is a fiction, that there are no group differences between human beings whatsoever. That’s absurd. 
Sure, there are hybrids and fuzzy cases, but people of African descent generally have darker skin and curlier hair. People of Caucasian descent generally have lighter skin and thinner hair. Asians have the epicanthic fold in their eyes 
Why is it utterly impossible that there be differences along the same lines, however slight, in the human brain? 
Okay, some people say. Even if we accept that race is real, and that there might be some differences, it’s “racist” to broach the topic of race and IQ. Wrong. That’s like being accused of infidelity and objecting “How mean!” instead of grappling with the substance of the accusation. 
Or, how about the idea that there’s no such thing as IQ? It’s fake to stick up for this one. We all casually describe one person as smarter than another. We know exactly what we mean when we call someone intelligent. 
Many of us love Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner’s argument about “multiple intelligences,” where some people are “musically” intelligent, some “emotionally,” and so on. 
Well, Gardner himself also stipulates “logical-mathematical” intelligence — basically what we otherwise refer to as IQ — and no one argues for pulling that one from the list. 
So: IQ, or smarts, is real. Like all genetic traits, it will vary more among individuals within a group than it does among groups. However, this doesn’t rule out the possibility of overall statistical differences between the groups. Science will ultimately resolve the issue, not P.C. dismissal. 
That’s not pretty. But smart people shouldn’t limit their discussion to what’s pretty. 
Yet here’s the equally important point: None of this means that IQ should play a part in our discussion of immigration policies. 
We should definitely make our country more inviting to high-skilled immigrants, many of which will be PhDs coming from India or China. But we cannot allow this to morph into a larger idea that humbler applicants without advanced degrees aren’t welcome, aren’t “smart enough for America.” 
The Founders of the republic, after all, broached no such topic. They had their xenophobias: Benjamin Franklin got itchy about how many Germans were here in his day. But no one of Franklin’s ilk is recorded as worrying that newcomers should be systematically measured for smartness.

In 1754, Franklin wanted immigration restriction because he wanted his Anglo-Americans to enjoy high wages and low land prices in their limited terrain along the Eastern Seaboard. From the beginning of the French and Indian War in 1756, however, he focused upon military conquest so his people could enjoy high wages and low land prices in the Mississippi River Valley. Personally, I'm not in to military conquest, so Franklin's 1754 logic seems pretty reasonable to me: I want my people, the citizens of the United States, to enjoy high wages and low land prices through immigration restriction.

45 comments:

Orthodox said...

I reject the idea that we just want high IQ people as well. Frankly, we don't need a lot more Phd's. What we really need are the tinkerers, the entrepreneurs, the guys who invent or build companies. Risk takers. One of those guys is worth 10 Phds, and maybe 100 if we're talking about the humanities.

Anonymous said...

"But no one of Franklin’s ilk is recorded as worrying that newcomers should be systematically measured for smartness."

Yeah they didn't care about smartness... you could either fur trade or you couldn't fur trade. Same as today.

eah said...

...None of this means that IQ should play a part in our discussion of immigration policies.

Yeah, of course not. But writing in the MSM, what else would or could he say?

OK, maybe not explicitly -- we won't be giving IQ tests to prospective immigrants (that would lead to 'disparate impact', after all). But people have to consider and decide what kind of country they want to live in -- a first world country with a reasonably equitable distribution of income, or ... something else.

Questions of White Nationalism and any unique worth of the 'historic American nation' aside.

We should definitely make our country more inviting to high-skilled immigrants...

And I have to ask: What American in his right mind would pursue a career in science or engineering? Knowing that the government was going to flood the job market with competition. Unreal.

Cail Corishev said...

I'm starting to think the only politically viable position on immigration control is an outright moratorium. If you support any immigration at all, then you have to explain where you want it to come from -- which implies where you don't want it to come from -- and you're branded a racist.

If you say you want a 10-year moratorium so that Americans of all races, creeds, blahblahblah can get jobs and improve their quality of living, it might give the demonizers less to work with.

Anonymous said...

Guys like McWhorter are not helpful. He admits that race exists. He admits that IQ exists. He admits that it's not appropriate to put discussion of IQ by race off limits just because it's "racist" to do so. But then, at the last moment, when it's time to draw conclusions from the data which he admits is entirely valid and useful, he punts, giving the specious reasoning that Ben Franklin did not advocate for IQ testing 150 years before it was invented. So basically he was never for any of this and made the above admissions just to make himself seem "reasonable" compared to total idiots like Coates.

john marzan said...

" Yet here’s the equally important point: None of this means that IQ should play a part in our discussion of immigration policies.

We should definitely make our country more inviting to high-skilled immigrants, many of which will be PhDs coming from India or China. But we cannot allow this to morph into a larger idea that humbler applicants without advanced degrees aren’t welcome, aren’t “smart enough for America.” "

I agree. but giving amnesty to those who broke immigration laws should be discouraged, unless...

Svigor said...

Okay, some people say. Even if we accept that race is real, and that there might be some differences, it’s “racist” to broach the topic of race and IQ. Wrong. That’s like being accused of infidelity and objecting “How mean!” instead of grappling with the substance of the accusation.

Actually, it's like being dragged into court and accused of causing the plaintiff's defect, then being accused of contempt of court when you point out it's congenital.

The ship has sailed on the morality of pointing out low black IQ; it's not only moral (while obscuring it is immoral), it's a moral obligation; whites have been accused of causing black incompetence, and our children are scheduled to inherit the supposed guilt for the imagined crime. The moral man defends whites from these false charges, while the immoral man turns away, or even testifies for the prosecution.

Good men do not sit on exculpatory evidence while innocent people are railroaded through the legal system.

Or, how about the idea that there’s no such thing as IQ? It’s fake to stick up for this one. We all casually describe one person as smarter than another. We know exactly what we mean when we call someone intelligent.

Haha, plain speaking and common sense; they're like novelties now, the press has gotten so bad.

rightsaidfred said...

But no one of Franklin’s ilk is recorded as worrying that newcomers should be systematically measured for smartness.

That was implicit back in their day. One was a person of means to immigrate and achieve voting status.

If the Founders came back today and saw what we've done with citizenship requirements, they would take up arms and correct the situation.

Jeff W. said...

McWhorter writes, "None of this means that IQ should play a part in our discussion of immigration policies."

I agree. We can discuss a complete immigration moratorium without ever discussing IQ.

Anonymous said...

I say physical differences are more crucial. We don't see whites fleeing en masse from 'dumb' Mexicans. But we see everyone fleeing from stronger Negroes.

I'd rather have 10 million mexer immigrants than 1 million black immigrants.

Anonymous said...

Mcwhort and Sully have the cover of being black or homo.

Anonymous said...

http://www.amren.com/news/2013/05/race-and-iq-again/

Bastion of high IQ wants IQ discussion suppressed.

Anonymous said...

"People of Caucasian descent generally have lighter skin and thinner hair."

My understanding is that negroid hair is thinner.

Anonymous said...

"...[P]eople of African descent generally have darker skin and curlier hair. People of Caucasian descent generally have lighter skin and thinner hair. "

What about people with red hair and freckled skin?

Anonymous said...

Immigration has minimal short term and no long term effect on wages.

Anonymous said...

I didn't notice Mr. Unz was already on the case.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/raceiq-the-jason-richwine-affair/

Anonymous said...

We should definitely make our country more inviting to high-skilled immigrants, many of which will be PhDs coming from India or China. But we cannot allow this to morph into a larger idea that humbler applicants without advanced degrees aren’t welcome, aren’t “smart enough for America.”
________________________________

He was doing so well until then, and all of a sudden moves from IQ to "humble." I guess people of average or high IQ cannot, by definition according to McWhorter, be humble.

If he insists on talking only of personal traits, then at least he could narrow his focus to "ambition." Who ARE the ambitious, John, and how do we identify them?

Anonymous said...

Applaud him for being smarter than most on this subject, but:

"IQ should not play a part in immigration policies"

"IQ is one factor that makes a person valuable to a community"

"The USA should try to attract highly intelligent people"

What?

Anonymous said...

The report also details overall Latino poverty by state. The Latino population in Alaska fares best of all 50 states with a poverty rate of just more than 10 percent. Hispanics in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Tennessee had especially high rates, all above 31 percent, and states in the southeast, including Alabama, Georgia and Arkansas had Hispanic poverty rates above 30 percent. Hail Alaska, forget Texas, Alaska Latins are the true natioanl conservative since their poverty rate is closed to the white norm. Republicans sometimes complain that Alaska is cold and things cost more than Texas but the latins a small group in Alaska do better than those Texan Mexicans do.

Anonymous said...

The notion that the Founders of this country were indifferent to race, religion, national origin, etc and that therefore we should be too is just embarrassingly wrong. It's a sign of the rigid group-think in "elite" circles that they all keep stubbornly repeating this line.

The very first immigration law (Rule of Naturalization) in the US limited citizenship to "free white persons" of "good moral character".


President George Washington wrote the following"

"My opinion, with respect to emigration, is, that except of useful Mechanics and some particular descriptions of men or professions, there is no need of encouragement: while the policy or advantage of its
taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the Language, habits and principles (good or bad) which they bring with them. Whereas
by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures and laws: in a word, soon become one people."


Our elites are ascribing their own Millennialism to people who never shared it.

Anonymous said...

I want my people, the citizens of the United States, to enjoy high wages and low land prices through immigration restriction.

Sounds great.

Consider Africa. I believe it is still the most sparsely populated continent. Low wages, low land prices, low productivity, low standards of living, heck, low everything except natural resources and violence.

Low population does not equal prosperity.

Europe has high wages, high land prices, high productivity, high standard of living, heck, high everything except natural resources and violence.

Anonymous said...


Yet here’s the equally important point: None of this means that IQ should play a part in our discussion of immigration policies.


Honestly, I would rather have them vehemently deny racial IQ differences, if they would ardently support immigration restriction. Keeping the hordes out is far more important to our way of life than having them acknowledge IQ differences.

Anonymous said...

From the beginning of the French and Indian War in 1756, however, he focused upon military conquest.

Steve, I feel am missing a subtlety in why you added this sentence to the post. Can you give us more of an explanation?

Anonymous said...

Can we measure Conscientiousness? That's certainly a trait I like to see in my neighbors.

Anonymous said...

"We should definitely make our country more inviting to high-skilled immigrants, many of which will be PhDs coming from India or China." - Why should we definitely do this?

Anonymous said...

'cept that it isn't that simple, Steve. We all want high wages. But we also want to pay that sweet little brown woman who looks after grandma low wages. Because we're not rich, not even wealthy, and elder care is hugely expensive.

That's the problem. We all live too damn long. And most of us don't make enough money to afford a middle-class lifestyle for ourselves and our nuclear family, support our elders, save up for the kids' college education, and save up for our own retirement.

Something's got to give. That's why we bargain-hunt, why we don't Buy American, why we shop at Wal-Mart. And that's why unskilled immigration is something many gripe about, but even more want.

Anonymous said...

The Founders of the republic, after all, broached no such topic. They had their xenophobias: Benjamin Franklin got itchy about how many Germans were here in his day. But no one of Franklin’s ilk is recorded as worrying that newcomers should be systematically measured for smartness



Given that no test for "smartness" existed in the Founders day, it would have been difficult for them to suggest that such a thing should be "systematically measured". If they had access to such a test they would have employed it.

jgress said...

So McWhorter argues that we should have unlimited immigration, regardless of the IQ of immigrants, and that this fits with Franklin's policies. But you show that Franklin in fact argued for low immigration, presumably without discriminating on the basis of IQ.

Is this your position, Steve? In some posts, you show how we don't want more low-skilled immigrants since either they end up being net burdens to the welfare state, or else they compete with native low-skilled (low IQ) labor, driving down wages among the most vulnerable.

At the same time, you argue against the promotion of high-skilled (high IQ) immigration, which Zuckeberg is promoting, since this knocks down wages among high IQ people as well (who would presumably all be net contributors to the welfare state). So I guess you are just generally against immigration.

David said...

They are having to be frank. Good.

Steve, maybe you can get an op-ed into that paper, responding to McWhorter. Worth a try?

(Look how well McW can write about IQ for his pop-level audience. For example: "How about the idea that there's no such thing as IQ? It's fake to stick up for this one. We all casually describe one person as smarter than another. We know exactly what we mean when we call someone intelligent.[...] So: IQ, or smarts, is real." That's great persuasive writing when addressing the middle of the Bell Curve, or nonspecialists.)

hbd chick said...

ot, but ed west's final blog post for the telegraph! =(

Conservatives – depressing everyone since 500BC

panjoomby said...

CUTE how mcwhorter uses Gardner to back up how IQ might be true - when Garner's tired stuff could only be even mildly true if he allowed for "g" (i.e., if he admitted his different areas would all correlate positively - all overlap - & that some of his alleged areas have very little "g" & some would have a lot! (& some would not hang together as legitimate factors).

pat said...

The 911 dispatcher asks George Zimmerman, "What was his race"?

And Zimmerman answers, "It's impossible to say because race is only a social construct which has no biological meaning."

Albertosaurus

David said...

jgress, America for Americans. For this position there are a multiplicity of good arguments. For example, there are harms associated w/ both low-IQ immigrants and high-IQ immigrants.

We can take in a few high-IQers who are racially and culturally compatible with the founding stock; but only when and to the extent it serves our national interests.

Steve has broadly similar thoughts and better arguments, I believe, under "citizenism."

hbd chick said...

john horgan says that maybe we should just ban race and iq research altogether:

Should Research on Race and IQ Be Banned?

Anonymous said...

Declaring Race-IQ research taboo because mid-century cranks did some wacky things with it is like declaring agrarian reform taboo because of the Great Leap Forward.

Dave Pinsen said...

A low ratio of people to land + natural resources seems to be a nice way to go. And as you've pointed out, nothing like the sentiments in Emma Lazarus's poem appears in America's founding documents. Plus, a Google Ngram search shows the phrase "nation of immigrants" didn't appear with much frequency in books until about the 1930s.

That said, if the founders had wanted to significantly limit immigration, and secure the blessings of liberty mainly to their posterity, wouldn't it have made more sense to keep the United States closer to its original size? By expanding into the land "vaguely realizing westward", didn't that sort of guarantee a more diverse nation, as the US grew to include more Indians, plus more descendants of French and Spanish settlers and their slaves? And all that arable land would require more immigrants to farm it, in the days before mechanized agriculture.

Steve Sailer said...

Dave,

Right. But here's the irony that nobody grasps. In the early 1750s, Benjamin Franklin came up with the Malthusian Theory (as Malthus had to admit a half century later). But, the 13 colonies were a long way from the Malthusian Trap. They were currently enjoying the highest wage to land price ratio in the world, and thus the most affordable family formation, with all that implies in human happiness: more people could afford to own their own land and to marry and to marry at younger ages and to greet each new child joyfully with few worries about how to feed them.

But, still the 13 colonies were restricted to a narrow coastal strip by the French domination of the St. Lawrence and Mississippi watersheds. So, Franklin proposed in 1754 a plan to push back the advent of the Malthusian Trap in the 13 colonies: restrict immigration to British subjects.

Two years later, however, Britain and France went to war in the vast Seven Years War. In 1759 Wolfe defeated Montcalm at Quebec and suddenly Britain owned the St. Lawrence. The British government's initial idea was to trade Canada back to the French for a small French sugar island. This drove Franklin nuts and he lobbied relentlessly to get Britain to keep Canada.

Why? Because the St. Lawrence / Great Lakes watershed offers easy access to the Mississippi watershed (Chicago, for example, is Chicago because it's the site of a 1 mile long portage between the two watersheds). If the French got the natural fortress of Quebec City on the St. Lawrence back, they'd rule the Great Lakes, and control the northern access to the Mississippi (including the Ohio River). The British Americans would thus be permanently cooped up east of the Appalachians. But if the British kept Quebec, the British people would come to populate North America, and thus the vast Anglo-American population would someday Rule The World.

Franklin foresaw this in 1760, and he turned out to be right. Franklin was the original grand strategist of the Anglo-American domination that culminated in, say, 1945.

But, the age of military conquest is hopefully over, so it's time to resurrect Franklin's pre-war non-violent thinking of 1754.

Dennis Dale said...

Maybe we're through the looking glass, when mainstream milquetoasts like McWhorter feel just enough pressure to acknowledge the truth of Race and IQ, even in their denunciations--I mean, we know the threat to livelihood presented by defending Richwine and his ilk. Penury, casting out, shame.

But what threat might there be in joining the pitchfork mob? Maybe a John McWhorter feels compelled to acknowledge Richwine's honesty out of fear of looking ridiculous later once the ideological dam breaks.

Could it be? Could it be that Sullivan and the other lukewarm defenders of Richwine see something I don't: the writing on the wall? That even respectable folk are wondering if one day, maybe soon, the IQ-deniers are going to be seen as creationists?

Because something else has given in this latest show-trial. Never has the tyrannical power had to be so very open about what they're doing--repressing valid science (and scientific results that, no less, ratify the common sense observation of the average man).

Harvard student groups demand Richwine's work be suppressed whether it's true or not.
In the Scientific American some wet nap writes that, while he would love "to refute" Richwine (but, I imagine, he has laundry to do and such) he needn't, because work like this should be banned.

Maybe, because truth doesn't really change, just our understanding of it, and therefore the suppression of it becomes ever more brutal, maybe a few of those until now dim but basically decent souls will lose heart once it comes time to actually put the rope around the Enlightenment's neck once and for all.

The necessity of repression has us now entertaining talk of banning inquiry (how would this work?--I suppose the gov't could pull funding wherever it can, but what about privately funded studies? will they be illegal, and what will the penalties be? We've come upon a whole new landscape).

Maybe some people are getting cold feet about the next step--codifying the repression into law. It was all fun and games when it was just the cool kids trashing the losers. But now you're the school administration. You're the Inquisition. Own it, or give it up.

Jeff W. said...

As has been discussed, high wages are a function of:

- Skilled, productive labor
- Labor negotiating successfully with management
- Restricted supply of labor

and also:

- Success of a nation's businesses, particularly exporting businesses, which bring money into the nation that circulates in the service economy.

The U.S. long had higher wages than Canada because of its manufacturing exporters. Canada's culture was less manufacturing-oriented and less entrepreneurial.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame about Ed West's departure from the Telegraph. I look forward to reading his future work, and hope he can find a suitable venue.

Svigor said:Good men do not sit on exculpatory evidence while innocent people are railroaded through the legal system.

Very true. The founding peoples of European derived societies deserve praise, support, and emulation for creating islands of decency and innovation in a world where dysfunctional, predatory stagnation is the norm. Instead, they are attacked as exploiters that owe their unearned well being to the misery of others. To remain silent on the issue of heritable group differences is to allow a societally destructive libel to go uncontested.

-The Judean People's Front

GOP goes the weasel said...

"Could it be? Could it be that Sullivan and the other lukewarm defenders of Richwine see something I don't: the writing on the wall? That even respectable folk are wondering if one day, maybe soon, the IQ-deniers are going to be seen as creationists?"

I dunno, but with more data on genetics, it's gonna be ever more difficult to maintain the fiction of racial equality.

If the elites did want to change the paradigm a bit, I suppose they would use proxies like Sullivan, McWhorter, and etc.
Since elites have been saying 'there is no race' and 'no racial differences', it would be a shock to the system if they were to come out and reverse themselves. So, to soft-pad the change, they are gonna stir up 'controversies'. Initially, they are gonna badmouth the politically incorrect... but then, a some liberal figures are gonna defend the politically incorrect position but spin them around to 'liberalize' them--as Pinker and Diamond are trying to do--, so that elites will be able to accept the fact of racial differences but framed in a way that is still 'anti-racist'.

Something for all of us to think about is bio-engineering. With advances in genetic sciences, it might be possible to tweak genes in the future. Makes whites as fast as blacks, make goyim as smart as Jews, make Mexicans as good at math as Asians, and etc.
What happens then?

David said...

>What happens then?<

a. - A wider gulf between the rich and the poor.

b. - Frankensteinian side-effects and errors.

c. - New racial categories but same hysteria over them.

d. - An extremely weak chance for humanity to advance. See "a." through "c." Enough Newtons might be whipped up to make a dent, but then again, how many potential Newtons will perish a priori because of errors and poor choices?

This assumes we don't first run out of oil, run out of money, nuke ourselves, die from the death of the oceans, and some such. Twenty years from now, we might be living in caves again.

Dave Pinsen said...

Interesting, Steve. Thanks for the explication.

Dave Pinsen said...

Dennis Dale,

This isn't 1994 anymore. Everyone is online. Orwellian denial of facts is much harder to enforce. And with the IRS and AP phone-hacking stories, even lefties are becoming skeptical of authority again.

Also, McWhorter is associated with the Manhattan Institute, if memory serves, which also employs Heather Mac Donald. They don't seem to be big fans of ignorance over there.

NOTA said...

I recall seeing right-wing think-tanks discussed as a kind of antidote to PC in academia. Instead of the tyranny of a left-leaning tenure committee who will push out anyone to the right of Bernie Sanders, we would have a place for people on the right to keep their intellectual integrity. Glad that's working out so well at Heritage. Because if you didn't have that justification, those think tanks might look a lot like intellectual hired guns, basically PR guys with PhDs.

In terms of finances and quality of life, Richwine got screwed over, and Heritage came out okay. By contrast, in terms of reputation with the sort of people whose good opinion is worth having, this was a genuine disaster for Heritage, and left Richwine looking pretty good. Unfortunately, neither landlords nor grocery stores will accept the good opinion of worthwhile people in payment of their bills.